Making change happen in four Italian schools

Thinking about how to make a difference.

Info on white background about change in the world. Illustration.

 

The Italian network of the SEAS project includes four schools: IC Meldola, ITAER Forlì, ITAC Imola, and Liceo Scientifico Rimini. These schools are different in many respects: their specializations (ranging from scientific to agrarian), the students' age (middle school or high school), the number of classes involved in the project, and the way they approached the project.

 

In order to stimulate students’ interest in this project, teachers used tools to help increase students| awareness of “a need for change”. Three schools used the cChallenge tool, while the fourth school used a climate simulator that create an experience where students were explorers and teachers were scientific experts from the future traveling back in time to the year 2021 in order to find a way to save the environment and avoid the catastrophe that would otherwise unfold in the future.

Thinking about how to make a difference

For all the schools, these tools have been the starting point for a bigger reflection about climate change and sustainability. Students were asked to think about how a single person can make the difference and how to be an active player in the community:

At the end of these projects, some of the schools managed to share the outcomes through meetings in the schools or even in the community involving other stakeholders such as the mayor of the city, council members or researchers.

The idea of our model of open schooling is based on 3 dimensions: content (which topic they chose), relationships (who was involved) and change (what kind of change was observed).

Screen grab Zoom-participants. Photo

 

School

Content

Relationships

Change (the type of change on …)

IC Mendola Climate change Teachers, students, school principal, political institutions (the mayor of the city), families

Students: Stimulate children to play an active role in the territorial context, from which they often feel not excluded.

Institution: establish contact between the political dimension of the city with the school

ITAER Forlì Climate change Teachers from different disciplines, students, school principal, other external stakeholders
  • Teachers: increased participation, building relationships between other teachers
  • Students: they felt more informed, and they increased awareness of their ability to act and affect the world
Institution: make structural changes within the official  educational programme
ITAC Imola Environmental sustainability Teachers from different disciplines, students, school principal, families and other external stakeholders.
  • Students: increased participation and request for help with a political approach.
  • School: creation of new relations with stakeholders
Liceo Scientifico Rimini Current change in the world sustainability, uncertainty and probabilistic thought, complex science and literature) Teachers from different disciplines, students, school principal, school
  • Students: personal change that become social change
  • Teachers: more “intellectual trust” between each other, need to understand the different language of teachers coming from different fields.

The impact a person can have

 

This SEAS project helped teachers to explain the complexity of the issue of climate change to students and let students reflect on the impact a person or a community may have on it. A natural consequence of the challenges was the involvement of students’ families and friends.

 

This was a key moment, since students realized not only their value, but also that they may have an active role in this complex world. Moreover, they acquired more self-confidence and awareness: scientific literacy helped them to elaborate on arguments, possible future scenarios, and understand their personal role in the community.

Moreover, teachers noticed the importance of giving students more opportunities to express their ideas and show their talent than the formal education system usually allows.

 

Learning to work together

At the same time, teachers expressed appreciation for the opportunity to collaborate with other colleagues, particularly  colleagues from different fields (scientific and humanistic). It allowed them to integrate their knowledge and their specific language and work together in a conceptual synergy to achieve their goals. Teachers, not only the students, learned how to work together!

 

A new notion of a teacher was created: a teacher, who acquired a political role in the mediation between the school and the community. In that way, schools can make a difference again! Moreover, teachers underlined the importance of opening up the school to the current news in order to capture the change. They have built a bridge with society.

 

The important impact of this project, shown by the enthusiasm of students and teachers themselves, encouraged the latter to structure this way of work and repeat this open schooling project the next year and to other classes.

Tags: open schooling, cchallenge By Francesca Cortelazzo Fondazione Golinelli
Published Dec. 13, 2021 12:12 PM - Last modified Dec. 13, 2021 12:14 PM
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The SEAS blog focuses on current research and activities in the intersection between scientific literacy, open schooling and sustainability challenges when students collaborate with families and stakeholders from civil society and industry in becoming agents of community well-being.